Fuel scarcity won’t ease soon –NARTO

From Uche Usim, Abuja

The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), yesterday,  said that the fuel scarcity experienced across the country may not ease soon as tanker owners who freight petroleum products are shutting down operations due to stiffling business environment in the country.

National President of the Association, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, who made the disclosure at a press briefing in Abuja, listed the high cost of diesel and foreign exchange as eroding the profit margins of members, saying there is nowhere in the world where private businesses run at a loss and remain afloat.

“We’re parking our tankers, more will still park. They’re running at a loss. The operation cost is unbearable,” he said.

Othman revealed that a truck head that was, hitherto, N20 million in 2020, now costs N35 million, while the tank had jumped from N8 million to N15 million.

“Tyres have increased from N35,000 each to N150,000, while batteries that were N32,000 each now costs N120,000. Diesel was N250/litre but now goes for N420/litre. Exchange rate at parallel market has jumped from N315/$1 to N570/$1.

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“The data presented does not include cost of maintenance, such as spare parts, gear oil, lubricants, overheads, etc.

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“Another serious problem affecting our operations is the condition of the roads, many of which are in precarious condition. Many transporters have parked. So, this scarcity experienced in the country is partly as a result of some grounded tankers”, he explained.

Othman lamented that all agreed recommendations with various agencies of government were yet to be implemented.

“It was agreed that the PPPRA looks into the possibility of accommodating an increase on the existing pricing template by reducing the share of government agencies on the template such as PPPRA Funding, NIMASA Charges, and NPA Fees “Revert to National Economic Council to inform it of the changes and the financial implication of the decision on the finances of the nation.

“Based on Presidential approval the first option was adopted by approving 10% to be implemented immediately while the balance of 16% was to be implemented based on the second option. To date this 16% is yet to be implemented. Since then, unfortunately, the economic circumstance in the country have not been better.  Our operational costs keep growing up exponentially”, he said.

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